Op Notlela claims its first military fatalities


The military component of the national campaign to combat coronavirus this week reported the first deaths since the deployment started late last month.

Two soldiers on lockdown duty as part of Operation Notlela (“lock up” in Sotho) – one in Gauteng and the other in Mpumalanga – died in incidents involving vehicles.

A Reserve Force soldier died after “a heavy vehicle lost control, capsized and fell on him” during a roadblock on the N12 south of Johannesburg on Tuesday.

The second road related soldier death happened in Acornhoek, Mpumalanga last Saturday (18 April) according to a SA National Defence Force (SANDF) corporate communications directorate statement.

Private Lebogang Jeffrey Kgatlhane of 4 SA Infantry Battalion died in a police vehicle that “overturned while in pursuit of a suspicious vehicle that did not stop at a roadblock”.

Defence and Military Veterans Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula; her deputy Thabang Makwetla; Secretary for Defence Sam Gulube and SANDF Chief General Solly Shoke expressed condolences to family members, friends and colleagues of the dead soldiers.